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Strong female ticket touted in Medina County, Ohio

MEDINA — Ohio Democratic Party chief Chris Redfern is touting the advantage of a strong female ticket both in Medina County and statewide.

The Democrats have women challenging incumbent Republicans in four of the six contested races for county offices at stake in the Nov. 6 election:

• Elisa Kazek is running against Commissioner Steve Hambley.

• Maryann C. Chandler is seeking to unseat Clerk of Courts David B. Wadsworth.

• Jill Bell is challenging Recorder Colleen M. Swedyk.

• Joan Heller is taking on Treasurer John A. Burke.

Republicans have two women on the ballot. In addition to Swedyk, Commissioner Patricia G. Geissman is seeking re-election, challenged by Democrat Mark E. Kolesar.

“I am delighted that so many women are a part of my party,” Redfern said Wednesday evening during a fundraiser at the Cool Beans coffeehouse in downtown Medina.

Redfern said that in races for Ohio’s 16 U.S. House of Representatives seats, seven of the Democratic candidates are women.

Both of the congressional districts that represent Medina County have female candidates. Democrat Betty Sutton is running in the 16th District against Republican incumbent Jim Renacci.

In the 7th Congressional District, which includes Medina County, Democrat Joyce R. Healy-Abrams faces off against incumbent Republican Bob Gibbs.

Other northern Ohio female Democrats include U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur in the 9th District, which includes part of Cleveland and a long narrow stretch along Lake Erie into Lucas County; and U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, whose district includes Cleveland and stretches into Summit County.

Kaptur faces Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plumber.” Fudge is unopposed in November.

Republicans have only one woman on their congressional ticket: Marsha Agana is running for the 13th District U.S. House seat occupied by Democrat Tim Ryan.

Redfern said having so many women on the November ballot gives his party an advantage.

“When women run, women win,” he said.

Medina County Republican Party Chairman Kevin Dunn and former party chairman Bill Heck could not be reached for comment.

Redfern said the party’s stance on issues like access to contraceptives and health care matter to women, especially when they’re framed in the right context.

He urged Democrats to be open to talking about women’s health issues — for example, how birth control pills are used to treat endometriosis, a painful and serious gynecological disorder.

Don’t worry about offending some people, he said.

“It’s time we worry less about whether we’re offending them, and worry more about whether we are defending us,” he said.

Bell voiced confidence the Democrats could win a majority of county offices in November.

“I’m thinking we have a good chance this year to do it,” she said.

In addition to the county candidates, Ohio House candidate Judy Cross, who is running against House Speaker Bill Batchelder in the 69th District, attended the fundraiser.

Cross, a retired teacher and former common pleas judge, said her top priority if elected would be to return some local government funds back to local communities. She said she’d also try and halt hydraulic fracturing, a drilling method for natural gas and oil, until the process can be studied further.

“I would like to see a moratorium until they find out what happens when you put all those chemicals into the ground,” she said.

Contact Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or

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